Preacher: “Praise the LORD! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty firmament!”
Seeker: “The LORD is my strength and my might; he has become my salvation.”
Preacher: Uh, Seeker, I think you turned to the incorrect psalm. That is not the next line.
Seeker: No, Preacher. I am sure I have the correct date, and the correct Psalm – 118 right?
Preacher: Um, no. We were going with Ps. 150.
Seeker: But Psalm 118 has such wonderful lines! “There are glad songs of victory in the tents of the righteous: “The right hand of the LORD does valiantly; the right hand of the LORD is exalted; the right hand of the LORD does valiantly.”
Preacher: But it is a fairly long psalm. And Ps 150 has good lines too. “Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his surpassing greatness!”
Seeker: Psalm 118 has a nice praise theme and one that inclusive for all people, and it includes the theme of salvation and redemption so that Easter is not abruptly left behind. “I shall not die, but I shall live, and recount the deeds of the LORD. The LORD has punished me severely, but he did not give me over to death. Open to me the gates of righteousness, that I may enter through them and give thanks to the LORD. This is the gate of the LORD; the righteous shall enter through it. I thank you that you have answered me and have become my salvation.”
Preacher: Ps. 150 is no slouch in praise either. And praising the Lord is a good theme for any time! “Praise him with trumpet sound; praise him with lute and harp! Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe! Praise him with clanging cymbals; praise him with loud clashing cymbals! Let everything that breathes praise the LORD! Praise the LORD!”
Seeker: Do you think we fooled them, Preacher! That the beloved readers think we are really bickering?
Preacher: I don’t know. They may think we are just really confused, and are really adamant and do not want to confess to being in error.
Seeker: It is good to praise the Lord. And to praise the Lord in multiple ways. Like Ps. 150 says, use all types of instruments.
Preacher: And praise the Divine for all types of reasons. Psalm 118 goes on to talk about the praiseworthiness of the Divine’s actions. “The stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”
Seeker: I am seeing that Psalm 118 also has a petition portion. “Save us, we beseech you, O LORD! O LORD, we beseech you, give us success!”
Preacher: Yes, Psalm 118 is pretty inclusive. It gives a nod to Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem. “Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the LORD. We bless you from the house of the LORD. The LORD is God, and he has given us light. Bind the festal procession with branches, up to the horns of the altar.”
Seeker: Then it is agreed; all psalms are good, and each can be applied in a variety of ways. And it is good also to find a creative way to present what might have otherwise been a long recitation of the two psalms.
Preacher: It is good to praise the Divine. “You are my God, and I will give thanks to you; you are my God, I will extol you.” And just as it is good to praise, it is good for all faith traditions to praise. Being inclusive means including all peoples whose faith traditions align with the message of compassion, forgiveness, mercy, and redemption. Let us give the last verse together so that our beloved readers know we are united.
Preacher & Seeker: “O give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.” (Psalm 150 & Psalm 118:14-29)